William Jennings Demorest

William Jennings was born in Brighton, New York, USA on 10 Jun 1822  to  Peter Demorest and Jane Brouwer.

In 1845 William married Margaret Willamina Poole   (1823 – 1857) and had 2 children,  Vienna Willamina Demorest (1847-1913) and Henry Clay Demorest  (1850–1928) who will work with the father as publisher according the 1887 New York Directory .

On April 15, 1858, after the death of his wife (Margaret Willamina Poole), William Jennings married Ellen Louise (Nell) Curtis (1825–1898)  an American fashion arbiter. She was a successful milliner who invented mass-produced tissue-paper dressmaking patterns. With her husband, she established a company to sell the patterns, which were adaptations of the latest French fashions and a magazine to promote them. Her dressmaking patterns made French styles accessible to ordinary women, thus greatly influencing American fashion. They had two children, William Curtis Demorest (1859-1933) born on 2 August 1859 and Evelyn Celeste Demorest born on 21 November, 1865 (1865-1960) William Curtis Demorest will became a lawyer and at the age of 28, he was living in 21 East, 57th Street, N.Y..

New York Directory 1887
New York Directory 1887


In April 1864, Jennings Demorest joined Mr. Thomas B. LEGGETT & CO. ,  publisher and proprietor of the  New York Illustrated News (90 Beekman Street, New York). With the New York Illustrated News was also supplied THE PORTRAIT MONTHLY, published the 15th of each month.


In 1895, William Jennings Demorest, the well-known millionaire publisher and temperance advocate, died without leaving a will. His widow, Ellen Louise Demorest, applied for and was granted letters of administration, on the estate, which, she said, comprises real estate worth $1,000,000 and personal property valued at $100,000. Mrs. Demorest was required to give a bond in $200,000. The children, who will share the estate with the widow, are Vienna Demorest, wife of James Gano, Henry Clay Demorest, William Curtis Demorest and Evelyn Celeste (Caradora Louise) Demorest, wife of Alexander Garretson Rea (d. 1926) of Philadelphia.


from New York Times (April 17, 1895)



Demorest's company in 1901

New York Directory 1901
New York Directory 1901



Demorest's New-York Illustrated News Woodcut Collection

 Demorest's New-York Illustrated News was a newspaper that was active during the American Civil War.


During the Civil War, Demorest's New-York Illustrated News published woodcut pictures of life on the battle field. This collection consists of four engraved cherrywood plates that were carved in Philadelphia for the newspaper during the war years. Each block depicts a scene from the war in Maryland. Full-size prints from each block and photocopies of the newspaper issues in which the pictures were originally published accompany the print blocks. Also included is a newspaper print from the Pictorial War Record: Battles of the Late Civil War, Saturday, January 13, 1883 edition. It shows a reprint of a print originally published in Demorest's New-York Illustrated News depicting the "Capture of the First Confederate Battle Flag by the Eighth Illinois Cavalry."







Published: April 25, 1864


This is the best illustrated paper published in America. Its articles are full of spirit and spice, and cannot fall to give it a reputation as a leader of public sentiment. To any one wishing to take an illustrated family paper we would recommend the News. Besides its editorial articles, it gives war matters, foreign affairs, congressional proceedings, &c. The publishers are just now offering special inducements to subscribers, as follows:

We propose to give each and every person who will send a year's subscription for the Illustrated News before the 1st of May, 1864, Mme. DEMOREST's Mirror of Fashions for one year without charge. The subscription to the Illustrated News and the Mirror of Fashions to commence with any number that may be desired. This proposition will also include Mme. DEMOREST's premium of one dollar's worth of extra patterns. We would also call the especial attention of readers to the artistic merit and the general improvement of our illustrated paper, which, we think, will challenge comparison with any of our contemporaries in any and every particular. We are also arranging to add still further new and additional features, making Demorest's Illustrated News preeminently the national family newspaper of America. Do not fail to subscribe immediately. -- Bay City Press & Times, Mick.